Statistics & Point of View
The 2023 theme “RECOGNIZING THOSE PEOPLE WHO GO UNSEEN” is about acknowledging people in our communities who are affected by overdose but might go unseen in this growing crisis”.
Drug overdose deaths have reached a historic high, devastating families, with 109,680 dying from OD’s in 2022 alone. According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 40.3 million people aged 12 or older have a substance use disorder. Meanwhile, more than four out of five Americans who are in need of treatment for illicit drug use, do not receive it. There are thousands of drug rehabilitation centers across our country yet the overdose rate continues to rise. How many more lives need to be lost before the “industry” receives an overhaul focusing on treatments that work?!
According to Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the biggest increase ever seen in the United States (and it’s rising each month) is the influx and use of Fentanyl that is causing 60% of fatal overdoses…a 50% increase in a single year. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 100x stronger than morphine. It’s made in China then sent to Mexico where back-alley chemists add other poisons, and then press the deadly brew into various types of counterfeit pills that mimic legitimate pharmaceuticals. These fake pills then make their way across the borders and into the hands of dealers who transport the poisonous pills to every state in America.
One study verified that over 46% of the U.S. population has a loved one or friend battling addiction, and for those who struggle with a substance abuse disorder, the stigma that surrounds it is crippling not only to the addict, but to their families. The idea that people who abuse illicit drugs want to be addicted to them is the farthest thing from what the addict truly desires. These drugs have so much control over the individual that they will make the worst decisions just to prevent themselves from going into withdrawal. The personal shame that comes with their actions, through active addiction, is silently unbearable. Unfortunately, the thousands of people who bring judgement, and then ridicule while having absolutely no idea of what addiction truly entails are asinine in their lack of education. At some point every single person will be affected by addiction if not from a child then a relative or close friend.
Imagine how the families of addicts are impacted by knowing that their loved ones could overdose at any given moment. Someone dies from a Fentanyl overdose every 17 minutes. This is why it’s so important for families, friends, or anyone for that matter to carry Narcan-Naloxone (a life-saving medication that can reverse an overdose from opioids when administered in time). There are two forms of Narcan that anyone can use without medical training or authorization: prefilled nasal spray and injectable. Please keep this life-saving medication in your home, vehicle, and anywhere that is quickly accessible because one never knows when a life will potentially need to be saved.
The Bristlecone Tribune contacted the William Bee Ririe Hospital Clinic Pharmacy, and to our delight was informed that Comagine Health had reached out to them offering Narcan in order that they give it FREE OF CHARGE, w/ instructions, to anyone who asks, no prescription needed. Thank you Comagine Health and William Bee Ririe Hospital Pharmacy Narcan can be purchased OTC w/o a prescription and any physician can prescribe although it can be costly. Most Walmarts will dispense Narcan with proof of a Medicaid card at no charge with no script needed. PLEASE go get your free Narcan because as long as there is breath there is hope.
Fentanyl has hit the streets of White Pine County where heroin and meth have always been here. We could not get a verified count, but reliable sources say approximately 6 individuals have OD’ed, and been revived with Narcan by EMT’s and/or a civilian who was present. Sadly, three (possibly more) have perished due to drug overdoses from 2021 to 2023. We can only hope that the dealers who are bringing it into our community and selling it are immediately caught and arrested before more individuals become addicted to its powerful properties and/or succumb to this POISON.
Lastly, if you are dealing with an addict, and are considering the “tough love” method please go talk with a parent of an addict who has passed away from a drug overdose. What they will tell you is instead of tough love try spending more time reassuring them that they are loved, pray with them, and meet them where they’re at and as who they are. Love is key, and God still performs miracles. Please pray for the addict and the families who suffer.